I was lucky enough to see John & Band both times they played London in October, as well as last week. October's small show at The Victoria was special because it's such a small, intimate venue and it was the first time I saw John with the band, and only my second time in total. Last week's show was probably best in terms of sound - very clear, I thought -, though friends who were further at the back said it could have been a bit louder.
Visibility was a problem, I agree. To be fair to Upset the Rhythm, I don't think London has a lot of great venues of this size. (Ariel is playing Heaven in August which, like Electric Ballroom, is really a club and not a music venue, IMO).
The performance was great, a very spirited, energetic performance from John. I would have loved to hear more tracks off Addendum, but I live in hope that there will be more gigs to follow soon. The setlist was fantastic anyway. 'Don't Worship the Devil' was amazing, 'Heaven Turned to Her Weeping' was another unexpected, and very moving, highlight for me.
I thought there were many proper Maus enthusiasts and also a good number of people who went to see what it was all about. Some nervous tittering and nonplussed faces when John pulled grimaces, hit himself, etc. The hysterical body certainly still has the power to make people uncomfortable. I would have liked the curious non-fans to stay at the back though and let the actual fans see the stage!
Last year I got the chance to talk to the band one night, the following night I had a photo opportunity and a quick chat with John, so I was hoping the same would be possible this time round. No luck - at first. I went for drinks with friends and on leaving the pub I found myself face to face with John - totally random. He graciously invited me to tag along, so I got to hang out with him, Nick Nicely, Matt Fishbeck and some other random lovely people for a bit, and I shared two ill-fated Uber rides (and more successful cab ride) with Mr Maus and Gary War, whose hotel happened to be down the road from my house.
I'm still buzzing days later. Can't wait for the next show.